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Lake Mary Ronan & Camp Tuffit

2010 August 1
by shana

The smell of freshly cut hay made its way into my car and round bales dotted the landscape as I drove into the sunset, heading west of Flathead Lake.

I had just left the Miracle of America Museum, and was racing the sun to get to the campground at Lake Mary Ronan before it was dark. But… the sun beat me this time. The camp host came up behind me to let me know there were only two spots left… and I would have to back in. “ok – I can do it,” I said optimistically. I am still new to this whole trailer pulling business, and backing up in the dark, in the trees, by myself, well… I would give it a shot. If not, then I could always go back to the museum.

I was trying, but I really couldn’t see anything. After all, it was dark and I just didn’t have the backing up experience to back me up. After just a few minutes, a woman from a couple camp sights over came down and asked if I needed help. “That would be great! Thanks!” We managed to get my camper in the site without incident, and from there it was a breeze to get it leveled and ready for the night. (Thanks Linda and thank goodness for helpful neighbors!)

The next afternoon I hiked a back trail from the campground to Camp Tuffit. This was in part why I was here instead of Flathead Lake. My friend Mark had told me about the lake and this campground where there were a bunch of rustic cabins… and that it would be a great place to start my trip. So, why not? The camp host said there was a good little cafe there too.

The girl working the Crawdad Cafe window was high school age at best guess. It was her cousin’s place and she was helping out for the summer. There was a sandwich on the menu that I wasn’t sure about so I asked about it. She said it was the cook’s choice: she could make any sandwich she wanted to… and that she didn’t recommend it. I decided on a burger and sat down on the patio overlooking the lake.

After lunch I wandered around the camp, and took a few pictures. I walked past a woman reading on a porch, and decided to go back and ask her about the camp. She was very friendly and told me how they kept their campers/rvs there year around and paid yearly dues. They reinforced their porches and winterized everything at the end of the season. She was from Idaho and came out for the weekends. Their kids had come out with the grandparents, and now they brought their grandkids. It was a little seasonal community. Their camp site had been in the family for over 30 years, and their recently widowed neighbor had been in hers for 40.

I had spoken briefly with a man at the little general store. I believe he said it was his Grandfather who had started Camp Tuffit back in 1917, and it has been in the family ever since. There are rustic cabins, some modern cabins with bathrooms & kitchens, RV spots with hook-ups, and the yearly RV spots. If you are interested in exeriencing Camp Tuffit, you should consider planning for next summer now, as reservations fill up fast from what I was told.

I hiked back to the state park campground. It was a hot day, so I decided to join Koji for a refreshing swim in the lake at the end of a beautiful afternoon. After our dip, we sat on the shore and looked out upon the beauty of the landscape, soaking it in along with what was left of the sun.

After grilling up some dinner, I joined Linda and her husband Gary at their campfire and visited until it was time to head to bed. This would be my last night at Lake Mary Ronan before heading toward Glacier National Park. It was a lovely little time I spent here.

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. Christen permalink
    August 4, 2010

    I was at Lake Mary Ronan Lodge on Sunday eve! I’m bummed we didn’t cross paths. Happy travels!

    • shana permalink*
      August 5, 2010

      Oh man! That would have been great to cross paths – hope you had a great time!

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